Shimano Friction Thumb Shifter NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG
Does The Future Have Fewer Gears? (Part 4)

You Should Try a Friction Thumb Shifter

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Sep 11, 2020
Reading time

Friction Not Indexed

I've owned the same pair of thumb shifters for seventeen years now. They consist of Paul Components Thumbie plates - the first-generation ones without hinged clamps and sporting clearance issues with some hydraulic master cylinders - and Shimano DuraAce 9spd barcon shifters. The right-hand one has been missing its plastic cover for at least a decade but has continued to do its thing without maintenance. When I ditched front derailleurs, the left-hand one found a new life jerking around a rear derailleur and suddenly I had the potential to run two bikes with friction drivetrains.

I used the 'rear' shifter in its indexed mode for a few years but even before I started running it with 10spd, 11spd, and 12spd drivetrains, I had switched over to the friction-mode. That is to say that there are no stops or gearing indications anywhere in the shift lever's stroke. Choosing a gear is done entirely by feel. There's an art to positioning the shifter just right in its seamless path to hit the next cog in the stack. In the heat of battle, it's a dark art I doubt I'll ever truly master.

If immediate gear-change gratification is your shifting goal then thumb shifters are dumb anyways - indexed or otherwise. Get a trigger shifter, adjust it perfectly, and bang off bad shifts all day. Done. If you want to become a better mountain bicycle rider and have a unique experience, grabbing a friction thumb shifter is a cheap, eye-opening, experience.

Shimano Deore 12spd NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

SLX? Nah. XT? Nope. XTR? Those who can, will. Or, well, at least the first time. The real gem of the Shimano 12spd cassette family is the Hyperglide+ Deore M6100.

Shimano Deore 12spd NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

The even biggest cogs on a single aluminum carrier, and guaranteed to outlast any of their higher-end cassettes, here on the Shore, thanks to the all steel cogs.

How will running a friction shifter make you a better mountain biker? It comes down to predictive shifting and it's not unlike the way riding a single speed teaches you when to pedal, when to pump, and better braking with no more effort or thought than just riding.

Removing the easy-shifting, or in the case of Shimano's superb Hyperglide+, the moron-proof shifting potential of a drivetrain, forces a rider to think more about momentum. Once it's sorted, I'll guarantee 95% of riders are faster on every trail, up and down, when they go back to riding an indexed clicker. No more superfluous shifting, better terrain reading, and more hard efforts for less net effort.

It means sometimes I'm in the wrong gear going downhill, and sometimes I'm in the wrong gear going uphill. That is when I haven't managed to adequately predict terrain, but rather than being focussed on making that last-minute shift I just ride my bike. Sometimes it's pumping instead of pedaling to create momentum and sometimes it's jumping out of the saddle to attack a climb with a few quick & powerful pedal strokes. A lot of the time it's surprisingly faster than coasting along in the 'right' gear.

Improving...

...on the only drivetrain that matters is not hard. That's not a knock onDeore M6100. It's an amazing bit of kit and I think if the most riders were honest with themselves, and gave it a shot, it would perfectly complement their riding. If you already have wicked brakes, tires, and suspension, then go ahead and AXTRS yourself. Enjoy! But I'd personally spend money on a lot of little luxuries before I'd bother upgrading any drivetrain parts.

Moving a Deore derailleur up and down the best-in-show, all-steel-cog M6100 cassette can feel a bit like swimming against a current. Of course, an XTR shifter feels extraordinary and shifts spectacularly. It also costs half as much as an entire Deore 12spd drivetrain including the bloody crankset.

Every time I ride the M6100 drivetrain I can't help but wonder if the wizards at Shimano could have, almost, equaled the shifting in an 8-speed 11-45t package. Similar range, less the bailout cog, similar shifting quality, and way fewer steps in between. If that sounds like I'm just recycling the first Does The Future Have Fewer Gears? piece then bear with me a moment. It's specifically from running a friction thumb shifter that I can be certain that blasting between my four or five most common ratios is way better than single-selecting them aside from the seven speeds I all but ignore.

Shimano Friction Thumb Shifter NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

BOX 9 shifting is a throwback to 1999 but with a clutch and a broader range SunRace cassette. 11-50t to be exact. It shifts well enough. I want to try a 6-8 cog spread covering 11-45t.

Shimano Friction Thumb Shifter NSMB AndrewM.JPG

There's no hiding when you're in suffer mode with a thumb shifter. All the way forward is basically the surrender gear (a 50t in this case). I shift much less and consistently climb faster compared to running the indexed trigger.

I've committed to riding the 12spd Deore group as stock for a suitable review period before playing around with it but I can't wait to try it with my friction thumbie where I can combine the grab-a-gear-and-go HG+ with hitting those big shifts in one fluid sweep of the shift lever. I assume it's going to be about a few ratios on the wrong side of truly gorgeous but HG+ hits gears so well, I'm giddy to see how it compares to other drivetrains I've run with friction shifting.

Sadly, or luckily, I don't have the hinged clamp version of the thumbie plate so it's a bit of work to get my shifter swapped over running push-on grips - not an easy back-and-forth test. The good news is that anyone who decides to give friction shifting a try and wants quick conversions has the option of buying a single-side hinged Paul Thumbie. Or buy a pair, and a pair of barcon shifters, and split them with a friend. Coin toss decides who gets the left-hand and who gets the right-hand shifter.

On A Budget

That's the brilliant thing about trying out a friction thumb shifter; it works with your existing cable-actuated drivetrain.* No new derailleur, cassette, chain, cranks, rings, or even cable housing is required to try out the latest in '80s shifter technology. That is, the latest in forty-year-old shifter tech blended with the latest editions of wide-range, 1x, clutch derailleur drivetrains. Admittedly it's a tad easier to find that just-right-gear with a 9spd spread than an 11spd, and it's possible I can't hit all 12spds on the new Shimano and SRAM drivetrains,.I haven't tried - yet, but who really uses that 11t, or 10t, with any regularity anyway?

A nice 12spd MicroShift right-hand thumbie - adjustable between index and friction mode - runs about 50 USD. Friction-only IRD Power Ratchet thumb shifters sell for 110 USD a pair (split them with a friend). If you're certain you'll love friction shifting, Paul Thumbie plates are 60 USD per side (and currently available in purple in addition to black and silver) and a proper pair of SL-BS77 barcon shifters - with rear indexing as an option - will run 90USD on Jenson.

*Sorry Di2 & AXS owners, you'll also have to spring for a rear derailleur and some cable and housing.

Kona Honzo Toxik Harald NSMB AndrewM.JPG

With some time off the bike before and after my daughter was born the idea of riding my single speed was truly daunting. Hence the thumb shifter.

Andrew Commuter NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I loved this sweet, sweet, Kona frame until I combined rim brakes, rain, and a loaded Chariot Trailer. The friction thumbie driving an XTR mech with a Saint super-short cage was superb.

Your drivetrain being your drivetrain - whether it's NX or XTR, whether it's fresh and shiny or roached to the point that half the cogs won't hold a chain - if it's actuated by a cable, then it can be actuated by a friction thumb shifter. And if you absolutely hate friction shifting, then hey, you've tried it, and I absolutely guarantee you have a friend who would love to give it a pedal, and it doesn't matter what drivetrain they have. If it's actuated by a cable then, well, we covered that.

And old dude, get lost with that "I tried friction shifting forty years ago" nonsense. If you haven't waggled a friction thumbie controlled derailleur over a modern chain and cassette then take it from me, this is not your 1982 Stumpjumper. You don't have to try it. I'm stoked that you love your ShiRAMano mix. But if you want to have an educated opinion, don't bring up Suntour ARX and the Mighty shifter. It's incredible how easy it is to find gears even jumping half-way up a cassette, and I haven't even tried HG+ yet.

Trying a friction thumb shifter, with your current drivetrain, will cost you less money than testing the Maxxis Dissector, that your friend recommended; the one you took off after two rides because it wasn't actually any faster than a DHR II and somehow offered less grip than a Rekon.

You may not love friction thumb shifting. You may not like friction thumb shifting. Heck, you may hate friction thumb shifting. But guaranteed, if you give it a couple of rides you'll appreciate the experience. At the very least, it's something to talk about over post-ride beers.

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Comments

momjijimike
+9 Andrew Major Cr4w goose8 Martin JVP MuscogeeMasher ollyh trumpstinyhands Dan
momjijimike  - Sept. 11, 2020, 4:17 a.m.

>Trying a friction thumb shifter, with your current drivetrain, will cost you less money than testing the Maxxis Dissector, >that your friend recommended; the one you took off after two rides because it wasn't actually any faster than a DHR II >and somehow offered less grip than a Rekon.

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Reply

AndrewMajor
+5 Mammal goose8 Martin Angu58 Dan
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 6:40 a.m.

Oh, Dissector... for every person who truly loves you there’s two who wished Maxxis had a two-ride money back guarantee.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+1 Andrew Major
Jerry Willows  - Sept. 11, 2020, 8:37 a.m.

I just got one in the rear because there is nothing else available in a DH casing but it's not that bad.  Better than a DHF and Aggressor in the rear.  Brosnan seems to do ok with them.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 8:50 a.m.

I mean, some people love it - someone is convincing their friends to try it!

I’d argue it’s a lot of scratch for a tire that’s “not that bad.”

Reply

wishiwereriding
+2 Andrew Major Dan
John Keiffer  - Sept. 11, 2020, 1 p.m.

I, too, thought that was a hilarious slam on the tire. But it perked my interest as I have been thinking about actually trying one of them. Maybe now I shouldn't...

Reply

neologisticzand
0
Chad K  - Sept. 15, 2020, 1:50 p.m.

Honestly, all this dissector hate is news to me! I actually like the tire in the rear in the exo+ casing. This all gave me a good laugh. 

Maybe I'd like a DHR2 more and I'm just missing out since it's been a bit since I've run one.

metacomet
+3 JVP Andrew Major ollyh
Metacomet  - Sept. 11, 2020, 1:04 p.m.

I liked the dissector a good bit, but there's room for improvement.  Mostly in the cornering knobs.  And the two-ride then refund theory is probably due to how f'ing quickly the side knobs give up and begin to fold over and undercut.  
I'd like to see a re-run of the dissector, shaped more like a Assegai.  Big, wide, and well supported side knobs like the Assegai, and with similar center knobs, just much shorter to roll quicker and maybe even save some weight as a result.  The Dissector clears better than the Aggressor and holds a lot of promise, but it just doesn't hook up as well when leaned over. They just seem to get overwhelmed on hard surfaces like slabs and hardpack and such, fold over, and then wear to near nothing at the base in just a few rides.  Assegai/DHRII has been the killer combo for me, but it would be nice to have a better'er at faster rolling rear option like we hoped the dissector was going to be.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+2 Andrew Major Metacomet
Jerry Willows  - Sept. 11, 2020, 1:43 p.m.

Assegai front and DHR2 rear is the best combo of tire out there.  Just a shame that Maxxis hasn't done a MaxxTerra in DD or DH casing (other than HR2).  MaxxGrip is not needed in the rear unless your racing or have $ to blow.

JVP
+2 Andrew Major Metacomet
JVP  - Sept. 11, 2020, 3:02 p.m.

Metacomet Nailed it. I completely shredded the side knobs on a Dissector in 2 weeks, and that was on fairly loamy late winter Seattle riding!

Dissector center knobs with DHRii side knobs and MaxxTerra would be a winner for people who want fast-ish rolling for long rides, but also want wet traction and versatility. Or just give us the Aggressor in MaxxTerra so it's not a dry-only tire.

AndrewMajor
+2 John Keiffer ollyh
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 4:45 p.m.

So I’m hearing a lot of “don’t be mean to the Dissector it has feelings too... here are the plethora of things the Dissector has to change about itself if it wants me to go steady.”

Where are the Dissector lovers, the champions, the evangelists?!

If we get Jerry his MaxxTerra GG DHR2 (totally agree JW - only rich folks, racers, and ‘local legends’ need MaxxGrip in the rear), Meta and JVP a used DHR2 with 50% center and 90%+ sides, and what the heck a DHR2 for JohnK too we’ve completely killed off the Dissector and everyone is happy.

D_C_
+1 Jerry Willows
DMVancouver  - Sept. 12, 2020, 9:21 p.m.

@Jerry Willows - DHR II 2.5 DD Maxx Terra now exists in 29! (TB00307900) - I have one in my hands ready to go on.

LoamtoHome
0
Jerry Willows  - Sept. 14, 2020, 9:32 a.m.

@dmvancouver where did you get them?

D_C_
0
DMVancouver  - Sept. 14, 2020, 2:58 p.m.

@Jerry Willows - I actually got it from a warranty on a warped tire direct from Maxxis. It wasn’t shown on the product page when I got it, but has been added since. I am waiting to put it on since it’s a unicorn at the moment, but hopefully we’ll see them in shops soon.

momjijimike
+1 Andrew Major
momjijimike  - Sept. 15, 2020, 11:27 p.m.

Hi,

spend a lot of time on Assegai Maxxgrip front and Dissector Maxxterra on the back this year. I like the Dissector but only if it is dry and as long as the profile is new. After a while it felt more like a semislick and wet performance isn't that great. DHR is the better choise. 

Last few rides I did with the Assegai Maxxgrip DD in the back. Same trails so I do have a good comparision. UP needs much more power, but I have the same time for 700hm up and down a lot more fun. I love DD in the back and Maxxgrip is sometimes unreal good vs maxterra. Assegai Maxxgrip DD on trailriding feels sometimes like I'm a superhero :) 

Not sure which rear tire I will try next. Maybe testing a EXO+ again...

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:09 a.m.

I really like the thought of the box 9 speed stuff. I like to think of it as a dh cassette with a couple of granny gears. Absolutely perfect for my needs. The only thing holding  me back is availability. If I break a mech or shifter, I can't exactly choose from a big box of spares at my lbs.

Actually what might be really cool is if someone made a wide range cassette that you could run with sram 7 speed dh shifters. 

Similarly I know there are a lot of 10 speed cassettes out there. Are there any nice  wide ones that you can run with shimano mechs and zee/saint shifters?

Edit: I  found the microshift advent x. Is there any reason why that wouldn't work with a saint/zee 10 speed shifter and a  regular shimano 11 or 12 speed mech?

Reply

fartymarty
+2 Andrew Major Sean Chee
fartymarty  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:51 a.m.

I'm running a 10 speed HG500 (11-42) and it plays nice with Zee wide range mech and xt shifter on my bouncy bike.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+5 Mammal goose8 Sandy James Oates Andrew Collins Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 6:44 a.m.

If you’re sticking with 10spd you can’t beat: Shimano 11-spd mech, Shimano 10-spd shifter, and SunRace 11-46t (all steel cog) cassette.

It’s still the go-to drivetrain at home - I run one (XT/XT) on my cargo bike and my wife runs it on her hardtail. ‘rona has made it harder to find parts. 

I’m interested in companies going further than BOX has. BOX-7 or BOX-6 with an 11-46t range and we’re talking.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+2 Andrew Major Sean Chee
Jerry Willows  - Sept. 11, 2020, 8:40 a.m.

Zee 10spd derail and shifter with a XG-1099 36t cassette....  dream setup.  Lot less bouncy chain.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 8:53 a.m.

Yeah, 36t with a short cage and then change the ring to whatever size you can pedal. Works well for bikes like Knolly where ring size has no/less effect on suspension. 

Note new Rocky Altitude is a 30t minimum. Not everyone can push a 30x36t up single track climbs.

Reply

xy9ine
+2 Andrew Major Sean Chee
Perry Schebel  - Sept. 11, 2020, 9:32 a.m.

love the idea of a modern single ring compact / microdrive drivetrain. short cages & small(er), light cassettes are rad. long, dangly derailleurs & huge 50t+ cassettes are aesthetic abominations (not to mention added cost, unsprung weight, increased susceptibility to damage, etc). but yeah, suspension kinematics & clearance issues...

Reply

kekoa
+1 Sean Chee
kekoa  - Sept. 11, 2020, 4:37 p.m.

Suntour was ahead of the curve.

AndrewMajor
+2 Perry Schebel Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 4:59 p.m.

I did quite a bit of cloud drawing on this subject as part of my Hammerschmidt revisit. Maybe it’s where we live, or how much time I spend coasting on my single speed, or just because I’m slow... but, I love the idea of a short cage, smaller stack, smaller ring and much smaller gear range. 

I’ve been playing with making an ISCG mounted idler for my Marin and running maybe a 26t 11-36t just to try it. I think there’s absolutely a market for such a product or at least there will be when the hour turns and folks realize high AS isn’t everything and it’s not a big deal to engage a climb switch.

craw
+2 Andrew Major AlanB
Cr4w  - Sept. 12, 2020, 7:12 a.m.

On a previous bike I ran a 28t chainring with an 11-36 11spd rear and it was great. Everything was so tiny. It was elegant but wow not good if you had to cover any miles on the road.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 12, 2020, 8:06 a.m.

Folks always bring up the road ride but I think it’s mindset again. I spin around town on my SS all the time and I’m spun out everywhere. Adds a bit of time especially on slight downhills or long flats but I just cruise. I feel like being happy in 26/11 just comes down to mindset?!

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Sept. 18, 2020, 11:10 p.m.

It's a real shame hammerschmidt never went anywhere. It would be just perfect for my needs of a fun long travel bike that needs to be pedaled up fire roads or liaison trails before I can have fun on the way down.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 18, 2020, 11:35 p.m.

Sean, another key thing about Hammerschmidt was the lightning-fast big ratio-jumping shifts. INSTANT. Great grabbing and ditching gears on big-rolling terrain. My dinglespeed-Hammerschmidt 2x1 setup was very fun.

fartymarty
+2 Andrew Major twk
fartymarty  - Sept. 11, 2020, 10:34 a.m.

I could probably get away with 32*/36 but there's no way I could justify £250 for a cassette. 

Smaller (lighter) drivetrains are appealing.  I love the "lightness" of the rear of my SS.  The same feeling on a FS bike would be amazing.

*would love to go smaller but my bike says otherwise.

Reply

prairiedirt
+1 Andrew Major
prairiedirt  - Sept. 11, 2020, 11:53 a.m.

What chain do you find works best with that setup?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 prairiedirt
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 4:48 p.m.

I use predominantly SRAM chains. 1071 usually. I get there are lots of good options but really can’t go wrong the the mid-level SRAM.

Reply

velocipedestrian
+2 Andrew Major Sean Chee
Velocipedestrian  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:40 p.m.

What's the advantage of the 11s derailleur over a 10s one?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:50 p.m.

The 11spd naturally clears a larger cog (46t no problem w/ no add one). It was meant for 1x where the 10spd was meant for 2x. Also, I find the shifting feels better likely due to improved architecture. I also detune the clutch quite a bit.

Reply

velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - Sept. 13, 2020, 8:53 p.m.

Good to know. My SLX derailleur + goat link is fine, but that's a relevant difference if I'm replacing it.

Reply

moraucf
0
moraucf  - Sept. 12, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

I'm currently using 12 speed deore mech w/ 11 speed xt shifter, which means....Could get away with using shimano 10 speed shifter with 12 speed mech.

Reply

Bad-Sean
0
Sean Chee  - Sept. 18, 2020, 10:57 p.m.

I forgot about my comment here. 

Agree a 7 speed 11-46 all steel cassette would be my dream. It would be able to use the cheap as chips sram dh stuff for shifting. 

My LBS said shimano will be making 10 speed deore for a long time to come so that ensures my cassette supply into the future. 

If I end up with the downduro bike I want (polygon xquareone dh8) i will be fine. It comes with 10 or 11 speed gx. 

If I end up with the dh9 (actually available in xl atm), annoyingly I will have to buy new drivetrain bits and rear wheel. This is because it comes with e13 wheels that use the silly integrated cassette.  A very strange choice for a bike touted as "a dh bike with adventure dna" and actually pedals uphill like a hardtail. 

Zee/saint shifters, xt mech, sunrace/deore cassette and whatever 157mm 27.5 dh wheel my LBS can scrounge up from their suppliers looks to be the ticket.

Reply

agleck7
+1 Andrew Major
Agleck7  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:10 a.m.

Sorry to sidetrack but was that hypothetical Dissector influenced by allegedly true events??

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 6:46 a.m.

Hahahaha, the number of times I’ve heard that exact whinge about the Dissector!

(I do also know folks who love it — the ones evangelizing it to their friends).

Reply

martin
+5 Andrew Major Mammal Pete Roggeman Cr4w Christopher Daniel
Martin  - Sept. 11, 2020, 6:27 a.m.

Andrew, love those off-the-beaten-path ideas that you bring out! Reading every bike news site every day, I can get a bit unimpressed by the awesome 13K$ bikes that come out. When I was a bike mechanic, after having built and fixed many cool high-end bikes, the thing that we loved the most were the old 80's/90's bikes or weird things that would come in the shop. Nothing was more satisfying than giving a tune-up and fixing up an old abandoned-in-the-shed steel Rocky Mountain from the 90's to get it back working like a new one.

Trying new old things like that friction shifter or riding rigid bikes keeps things interesting in this era where bikes work so well and are so "easy" to ride. I brought out the old hardtail for a few rides with a friend this summer and he asked "Why are you riding this instead of your shiny new bike?!". Riding it feels so different, but at the same time, it reminds me that I have just as much fun riding a low-end hardtail as when riding my new high-end custom full-suspension bike built exactly like I wanted. Plus it's always satisfying to pass people on 8K$ Yetis with that old hardtail haha!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 goose8 Martin Christopher Daniel
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 6:50 a.m.

Cheers Martin!

Bikes are so good now. I mean, you can just go ride them, but I think it’s fun to mess around with the norms here on the Shore. 

A rigid fork is an investment even for folks that own a hardtail so I get why it’s a hard sell. Even though it is amazing fun with new geo, big brakes, plus rubber (2.8” Vigi!) and CushCore. 

Friction thumbies are differently fun and like I say, it costs less than a tire to give it a try! Plus, they may frustrate for the first ride or two but they’ll make you a much better rider in a way HG+ - shift anywhere, anyway, under any load - never will.

Reply

craw
+6 Andrew Major Mammal goose8 Martin Dan twk
Cr4w  - Sept. 11, 2020, 7:02 a.m.

While a good portion of the riding population is doing their level best to feel less on rides with more carbon, more batteries, more 52t cassettes, more batteries, the idea of simplifying stuff just to see what happens is a nice change.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Christopher Daniel
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 8:55 a.m.

Have I ever told you about single speeding?

(Hahahaha)

Reply

craw
+3 Andrew Major MuscogeeMasher Dan
Cr4w  - Sept. 11, 2020, 9:38 a.m.

Let's not get crazy.

Reply

mammal
+3 Martin Andrew Major Dan
Mammal  - Sept. 11, 2020, 8:25 a.m.

Thanks for keeping MTB journalism interesting (weird/wonderful), Andrew!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 Mammal Velocipedestrian Dan
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 8:54 a.m.

Cheers!

Credit to Cam & Pete for publishing stuff that’s a bit offbeat.

Reply

xy9ine
+3 Mammal Andrew Major Velocipedestrian
Perry Schebel  - Sept. 11, 2020, 9:33 a.m.

you are such a nerd, andrew. love this kind of content, tho.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Perry Schebel
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:04 p.m.

Hahahahaha. Whatever, pot v kettle.

Reply

Hollytron
+4 Cr4w Mammal Andrew Major grcgrc
Hollytron  - Sept. 11, 2020, 9:33 a.m.

I drank the mtb kool aid direct from the 1993 Bridgestone catalogue. Moustache bars, friction shifting, and flexy forks. They also hated the idea of suspension and built their nicer stuff using steel and lugs. Ive gone through a lot if therapy and had to challenge many of my conspiratorial beliefs concerning big alloy and the global elite controlling our shifting through indexing (what about the shifts between the clicks man?). 

I want to believe.

Reply

craw
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
Cr4w  - Sept. 11, 2020, 9:39 a.m.

I had an MB1 in high school.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Andrew Major grcgrc
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 11, 2020, 1:36 p.m.

Jesus! I lusted after the MB-1. And the MB-0. And the MB-2. And 3. My dad had (still has!) an MB-4 and it's still cool.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Cr4w Andrew Major
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 11, 2020, 1:37 p.m.

Those Bridgestone catalogs were so great. Tons of fun little stories and sidebars. And Pineapple Bob.

Reply

Hollytron
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Hollytron  - Sept. 11, 2020, 3:11 p.m.

I had completely absorbed Pineapple bob into my subconscious! My current rig is covered in pineapple stickers and now I know why.

Reply

craw
+4 Andrew Major grcgrc Dan Pete Roggeman
Cr4w  - Sept. 11, 2020, 4:30 p.m.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PINEAPPLE BOB?

And that taco restaurant that Zap used to eat at.

"The legend of Pineapple Bob, made famous in Bridgestone ads of the early `90s, came about organically. According to Petersen, Hiroshi’s daughter, Natsumi, named Robert Kurosawa ‘Pineapple Bob’ because there were two or three other Bobs that hung around the bike shop. “Robert grew up in Hawaii and his hair shoots out like a pineapple so she called him Pineapple Bob just to differentiate him from the other Bobs,” Petersen said in an interview with Chris Kostman more than 20 years ago. “By the way, I don’t call him Pineapple Bob. Mostly his friends call him Robert.” Kurosawa, an avid cyclocross racer, has worked in Rivendell’s shipping department since 2000."

https://www.bikemag.com/pavedmag/5-reasons-why-hes-grant-petersen-and-youre-not/#:~:text=The%20legend%20of%20Pineapple%20Bob,hung%20around%20the%20bike%20shop.

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kekoa
+1 Pete Roggeman
kekoa  - Sept. 13, 2020, 11:04 p.m.

He used to come home on occasion and ride with the bike department manager of the shop I worked at and I was told he was a beast on our rooty and techy trails. We would occasionally find an old Bridgestone in the warehouse and all of would be sad when it was sold. Most of my riding crew has a Bridgestone in their past.

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kekoa
0
kekoa  - Sept. 13, 2020, 11:04 p.m.

He used to come home on occasion and ride with the bike department manager of the shop I worked at and I was told he was a beast on our rooty and techy trails. We would occasionally find an old Bridgestone in the warehouse and all of would be sad when it was sold. Most of my riding crew has a Bridgestone in their past.

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 14, 2020, 9:25 a.m.

Great find!

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morgan-heater
-1 MuscogeeMasher
Morgan Heater  - Sept. 11, 2020, 9:38 a.m.

This seems like something that someone with too much spare time would do.

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mammal
+1 Andrew Major
Mammal  - Sept. 11, 2020, 9:56 a.m.

Or an undying love for all things quirky? Based on his ramblings, I'm leaning on the latter.

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AndrewMajor
+3 Velocipedestrian Dan Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:22 p.m.

Not sure if you’re being facetious, but here’s a few thoughts anyways:

A) it’s cool if you just love to ride bikes. For me, the ‘adult LEGO’ aspect is a huge part of what I love about mountain bikes. Love to fix them. Love to play with them. Love to challenge other rider’s perception of what is “good.”

B) My wee one and I have been playing bikes since she could sit up and hold a tool. We do projects just to see how things work all the time. Swapping back and forth friction thumbie v. indexed trigger isn’t even a one beer job but it’s still interesting in an adult-LEGO way.

C) I have three part-time gigs, my MEATengines passion project, and I’m the primary parent Monday-Friday through the school year. I can assure you, spare time is at a premium and trying out friction shifting is worth the small time & $$ investment. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

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chachmonkey
+1 Andrew Major
chachmonkey  - Sept. 12, 2020, 10:28 a.m.

Another easy adult LEGO project, and another reason to keep thumbies around: I took a right hand thumb shifter, stuck it on the left (so it hangs under the bar), and removed the little piece that keeps it in one place until you push it again, and now it makes a pretty nice dropper lever. (Not main bike nice, but perfect for the backup-bike for when my partner is riding the good bike.)

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morgan-heater
+1 Andrew Major
Morgan Heater  - Sept. 14, 2020, 9:58 a.m.

I was being facetious, but I'm definitely in the other bike mech camp. If I wasn't cheap and impatient, I would pay someone to do all my wrenching. Instead, I do all my own wrenching and get some satisfaction out of it, but can't imagine doing things that are not 100% necessary. :-)

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AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - Sept. 14, 2020, 10:16 p.m.

HAHAHAHAHA, awesome. I totally get it. I've met a number of people who took a Bikeroom class to figure out how to work on their bikes because "shops charge so much" and left with a new appreciation of value.

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XXX_er
+2 Mammal Andrew Major
XXX_er  - Sept. 11, 2020, 9:45 a.m.

Wow, I'm gona take all the dishes out of the DW and wash them by hand

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Hollytron
+5 Cr4w Pete Roggeman Andrew Major Dan Mammal
Hollytron  - Sept. 11, 2020, 10:36 a.m.

Dishes are a crutch. Hand to mouth friend.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:12 p.m.

Hahahaha. I like washing dishes by hand. My folks didn’t spring for one until I was a teenager and it’s a bit of nostalgia. Also, mine is such a POS I’ve fixed* it enough times in the last couple years that it practically counts as a bike.

*Shout out to Ilac on Lonsdale for ordering parts for me when I need them!

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 14, 2020, 9:27 a.m.

Mine needs a new impeller. I've been emptying water out of the basin for months because I'm dreading pulling the whole DW out to replace the part. And I certainly don't want to pay someone else hundreds of dollars to do it. Tell me it's not that big a deal and maybe it's time I take it on.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 14, 2020, 10:23 p.m.

In my experiences:

Pulling the DW out will require removing two Philips screws and a bit of wiggling. The hardest part of the whole service will be tipping it over on the side to access the bottom... not because it's particularly heavy but because the little threaded feet it sits on are made of cheese. 

Once it's over a socket set or Philips screwdriver is all you need to swap modules. If your DW is getting electricity and water but makes a noise instead of draining it's most likely the pump assembly that needs to be replaced. Unless you have some fancy Euro brand it will be $45-70. 

To order the part your local appliance store will need some combination of the serial number and/or model number that you'll find on the side of the tub when you open your door. 

Paying someone to do the job (come to your place, swap the part, test the appliance) will cost as much as a new one (and rightfully so, time + experience = $$$) but anyone who can swap a rear derailleur has this job covered no problem.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 14, 2020, 10:25 p.m.

The above said, before you order the part, pull out the DW, tip it over, and remove the drain hose to get access to the impeller. If it's partially draining it could just be something stuck in there. We had a notorious trio of issues involving olive pits.

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 15, 2020, 9:42 a.m.

Thanks!

I actually found the impeller blade sitting loose in the drain basket. So, while there could be other issues at play, there's no question that sucker needs to be replaced to start with. Knowing it's as trivial as you state above, that's enough for me to commit to buying that part and taking a crack at it this weekend.

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XXX_er
0
XXX_er  - Sept. 11, 2020, 9:45 a.m.

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earleb
+2 Andrew Major grcgrc
earle.b  - Sept. 11, 2020, 10:01 a.m.

If you want even more fun, run your friction thumbie on your diy electric bike and the ability to send 500w of power into hunting for the gear. 

I love my thumbies, but I did get a trigger shifter back on the electro commuter after it's last rebuild and it's nice. 

Even though it was a 11spd Microshift and 11spd cassette I ended up spending about a year in friction mode. It got knocked out of alignment one morning dropping the kids at daycare, flipped it into friction mode....just never took the time to realign it and switch back. Cables never out of adjustment in friction mode.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:25 p.m.

That’s freakin’ impressive. I’m indexed/trigger on the cargo bike specifically because the weight, load, shifting combo had me worried about bent cogs etc if I tried to friction shift on the go. Adding in Skynet sounds like a recipe for disaster!

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alexdi
+3 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major MuscogeeMasher
Alex D  - Sept. 11, 2020, 10:14 a.m.

While I'm in favor of the idea of fewer gears, the benefits haven't borne out in practice. Durability? Better with 12S if the chains are any indication. Weight? Dollar for dollar, the same for the same range. Box's CNC 11-50 9S is the same 360g as SRAM's 10-50 12S. Shifting? Better than ever with Hyperglide+, even accounting for the tighter tolerances. I rode an M9100 demo with a broken, floppy shifter adjustment knob that was still better than any other drivetrain I'd experienced before. When you can add or dump a bunch of gears at once, even the argument that you're usually skipping ratios starts to fall flat. 

Friction shifters are cool. I've been on the efficiency bandwagon too long to want to use one though.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Alex D MuscogeeMasher
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:28 p.m.

Just a comment on 12s chains. There’s the expense factor (a top quality 9s chain is way less than a top quality 12s chain) but ignoring that, if you used the 12s chain with a 6spd cassette eliminating all the extreme chain angles those chains would last even longer and never get the flex/noise issues they develop.

I’ve run 12s chains on my SS with impressive results.

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Shoreloamer
+1 Andrew Major
Greg Bly  - Sept. 11, 2020, 10:20 a.m.

My buddy Eric the Crow would stock pile XT thumbshifters. 

Derailleur cage bent, hanger bent, you can probably tweek the derailuer with the friction thumby and still pedal. 

Doesn't matter how many gears you have it will work. 

Very few parts to fail or wear out. Light weight and simple. 

Dave at NSSS gets very excited and loves to point out the virtues of the Microshift thumb shifters.  More for commuting but I'm game for perhaps trying on my mountain bike. 

I bet it's smoother to shift into the massive pie plate we all run out back now. You control the amount of pressure pushing the chain up the cogs. 

Very easy for you friends to grab your shifter and dump you into smallest cog for sh.ts and giggles. 

Thanks for keeping it fresh. 

I really need to see a review on why the Fox 36 is better this year! Even better than last year's or the year before that! Yes new and improved!

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craw
0
Cr4w  - Sept. 11, 2020, 10:58 a.m.

It's funny that that ability to "limp home In friction mode" was touted as a great benefit when STI paddle shifters first came out. In all those years I don't think I rode In friction once.

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pete@nsmb.com
+3 Andrew Major grcgrc Dan
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 11, 2020, 1:39 p.m.

I used to run my DX shifters in friction mode by choice. Andrew's description of how sweet it is to nail a shift and getting a different feel for the drivetrain was why I liked it, so I just kept them that way. Actually didn't like indexing back then as I didn't feel it was as accurate as friction.

/nerd

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kurt-adams
+1 Pete Roggeman
Kurt Adams  - Sept. 11, 2020, 4:32 p.m.

Yep Friction all the way...back in the day!

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kurt-adams
0
Kurt Adams  - Sept. 11, 2020, 4:32 p.m.

Yep Friction all the way...back in the day!

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AndrewMajor
+1 Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:35 p.m.

Pete, you sound like a prime candidate for mating a friction thumbie with XTR/XX1 and providing a second opinion!

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 14, 2020, 9:31 a.m.

I'm tempted. The hardtail needs something new done to it and I do happen to have a set of Deore thumbies lying around...

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 14, 2020, 10:26 p.m.

Do it... if only for the nerdy riding-something-different factor.

Vikb
+1 Sandy James Oates
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 11, 2020, 2:57 p.m.

The only times I've had to limp home with a damage drivetrain the derailleur was no longer attached to the frame so index vs. friction was the least of my concerns! ;-)

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AndrewMajor
+1 Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:34 p.m.

Is Eric The Crow the same guy as Eric The Vulture? Has to be?!

Eric & Oly Eric. Used to have tires riveted to his Fox Roost armour a la Mad Max Eric?

One of a kind. 

I’ve never seen anyone get so much air, off of such little stuff, with such frequency. Never mind the cigarette hanging out of his mouth. 

That guy and his .243 (?) are worthy of an article. 

Cheers Greg!

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Shoreloamer
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Greg Bly  - Sept. 12, 2020, 9:39 a.m.

Yes you got it! He was the min max master!  Heavy steel hard tail with either a dual crown fork or a trusted 55 . 

They schooled me on the Woodlot. Doing massive jumps. Remember Hoodlums? Totally forgot about his upgraded armor fixing plates together with chunks of tire. 

The group rides we're best. A bunch of hooligans with little concern about equipment searching for every janky stunt on double black trails. 

Then Eric would find a mossy old log parked at a steep angle. He would pull up the front end and trials hop onto said log , trying untill he nailed it. Cigarette hanging out of his mouth. 

Best times of my life .Olly and Eric moved to Vernon. I miss them dearly. 

Thank you Andrew for remembering freindly freaks from the past.

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AndrewMajor
+3 Greg Bly Pete Roggeman Mammal
Andrew Major  - Sept. 12, 2020, 9:47 p.m.

The last time I saw Olly was at SuspensionWerx on Hunter street, maybe five years ago. Every time he came by with that wicked 4x4 van of his there was some detail we'd dive into. It's funny, I'm not a car person at all but the fabrication work was so killer and he's such a good storyteller that it was easy to get lost in his passion for it. 

Looking back at some of the larger-than-life characters I've met through mountain biking, who I didn't properly appreciate at the time, and now being older & wiser, I'm trying to fully enjoy those people and those moments as they happen.

Last year in June I did a 6am ride with friend Darryl who I've known for years. He pedaled all the way up Lonsdale and No Quarter on an Orange Patriot wearing a leather jacket the whole way (I was dying in a t-shirt) and then - I sh*t you not - he cleaned all of Bookwus with a full mug of coffee in a holder on his handlebar without spilling a drop. And you think, wow, they don't make them like they used to - but that's actually bullshit. Some of it is who can afford to live on the North Shore (or Squamish, or Tri-Cities, or etc) and some of it is simply that, to a massive number of folks, Strava times, looking cool, and matching kits matter more than just having fun on a bike. 

Which would bring me back full circle to friction thumb shifters, rigid single speeds, and etc, but instead I'm going to post this photo of Darryl being Darryl for general inspiration. Be Original. 

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ManInSteel
+1 Andrew Major
ManInSteel  - Sept. 11, 2020, 4:11 p.m.

That Honzo custom painted by Toxik deserve a full photo.  Pleeeease.....

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AndrewMajor
+1 ManInSteel
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:45 p.m.

Don’t know if I have one honestly - but a I’ll check for you! My friend Bone-Spurs-Brent has the bike now. 

Here’s a couple other shots from NSMB in the meantime. Usually I ran it SS.

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AndrewMajor
+1 ManInSteel
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 5:45 p.m.

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ManInSteel
+1 Andrew Major
ManInSteel  - Sept. 11, 2020, 6 p.m.

Thank you! What a beauty!

If I see this bike on the N. Shore I would definitely hug it like a frog...:-)

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 11, 2020, 6:24 p.m.

You’re most likely to see it on Burke, Eagle, or Bert Flinn. If you do be sure to say hello to Bone Spurs. He’s a really nice fellow!

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ManInSteel
0
ManInSteel  - Sept. 11, 2020, 6 p.m.

Thank you! What a beauty!

If I see this bike on the N. Shore I would definitely hug it like a frog...:-)

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insectoid
+1 Andrew Major
insectoid  - Sept. 14, 2020, 3:33 p.m.

Aren't the Paul brakes on your orange Kona supposed to be used with short-pull levers? If so, by using V-brake levers with them, you lost around 40% of your braking power, even if you set them in the highest leverage setting. In other words, if you want to sell me those XTR V-brake levers, I will be happy to buy them)))

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 18, 2020, 11:43 p.m.

The original XTR V-brake levers had an adjustable cam and by changing the leverage to work with v-brakes or cantilever brakes (or those Paul Racer Brakes) I had very good results using them with a number of different brakes. On that bike, it was just a combination of friction (rubber rim brake pads/aluminum rims/rain) v. the weight of a loaded trailer in North Vancouver. I've also used them with both MTN and Road versions of Avid Disc brakes.

I've had those XTR V-brake levers for a couple of decades now and they're still tight. A beautiful example of Shimano's past manufacturing quality. Absolutely not for sale but nice try!

*Edit: I used the Paul Racer Brakes both with Paul Cantilever brake levers and with the XTR levers and power was similar but the XTR levers were much smoother. And I'm a Paul fan!

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mammal
+1 Andrew Major
Mammal  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:34 a.m.

That was the bike that was stolen, spotted, then returned, was it not? Epic story, worthy of the bike.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:51 a.m.

Correct! My friend  JL chased it across Vancouver on foot. An example of custom paint laying for itself!

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knumyk
+1 Andrew Major
knumyk  - Sept. 13, 2020, 2:23 p.m.

Great stuff! 

I wonder is it possible to somehow mount a microshift to a 31,8 mm bar?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 14, 2020, 10:34 p.m.

Cheers!

If it's a 31.8mm MTB bar then it tapers to 22.2mm at the grips - same as it ever was - so any MicroShift thumbie will fit. If you are sticking with Indexed shifter they make SRAM or Shimano 12spd - but if you are going to go Thumbie then friction is where it's at anyway. 

If you mean a 31.8mm drop-bar then you can combine a Paul 31.8 MicroShift clamp with a MicroShift barcon shifter.

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knumyk
0
knumyk  - Sept. 16, 2020, 1:11 p.m.

Aha, I see, mtb bar is what it s all about. I am then considering a microshift.  https://www.microshift.com/en/product/sl-m10/

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knumyk
0
knumyk  - Sept. 16, 2020, 1:12 p.m.

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Endur-Bro
0 Andrew Major knumyk
Endur-Bro  - Sept. 13, 2020, 2:47 p.m.

I often wonder if I’d rather have my dropper lever on the right and shifter on the left?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Endur-Bro
Andrew Major  - Sept. 13, 2020, 5:52 p.m.

I ran my bikes that way for quite a while. LH friction shifter and RH dropper remote on the geared bikes and, of course, just the remote on my single speeds - the Fox DOSS is fantastically adaptable that way as is the CrankBrothers remote. Absolutely it was my preference to run the dropper on the right hand to the point that my Explosif Ti frame is drilled (Stealth routing) to run that way. 

It ended up being too hard to switch back and forth and also most remotes now are dedicated LH shifter style.

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xy9ine
+2 Andrew Major Endur-Bro
Perry Schebel  - Sept. 13, 2020, 6:42 p.m.

back in the thumb shifter days i used to run the rear shifter on the left under the bar. rapidfire-esque function pre-rapidfire. shifting thumbies in chunky terrain was just sketchy. 

also ran look clipless road pedals prior to the invention of SPD's (when everyone else was on clips / toe straps). of course necessitated running hard sole road shoes and walking on plastic cleats that wore out rapidly, but yeah. SO ahead of the curve, me.

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damientheo
0
damientheo  - Sept. 18, 2020, 1:55 p.m.

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damientheo
+1 Andrew Major
damientheo  - Sept. 18, 2020, 1:56 p.m.

I happen to have a set of Thumbies and a valid reason to try this out (9spd shifters and 11sp cassette) but damn if I can't find  good placement of the shifter. It either can't clear the brake clamp bolts or traps my finger between it and the brake lever which is a little scary. Getting an exacto knife to try and cut some of the rubber off

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 18, 2020, 11:48 p.m.

That's why the new Paul Thumbies move the shifter a bit higher. On my old/original Thumbie there are certainly clearance issues with some disc brakes.

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